Antique Walter Frederick Tubbs Snowshoes
c. 1910's-30's – 20th century
Wood, Babiche, Metal (nails)
40”l x 11"w x 1 11/16 (toe)
© Vintage Winter
This is a unique pair of antique W.F Tubbs snowshoes - the Boys and Misses model. Their original labels are faded, but still identifiable. They are made of white ash frames and have a wonderful dark patina that only comes with time. Labeled as the Boys and Misses Model. We recently acquired a few pair of Tubbs snowshoes from a collector in Maine.
While most of the country was under dire stress over failing banks, W.F. Tubbs was busy forming his new snowshoe company. 1907 marked the year the W.F. Tubbs Snow Shoe Company was formed in Norway Maine. With farming origins, Mr. Tubbs had personal experience with the necessity of traveling on snow. While many snowshoe manufacturing firms opened and closed in this region of the United States Mr. Tubbs always found a way to succeed. Some accounts reference his early triumphs to both local and more importantly, national advertising. In as such he offered a free pamphlet to interested parties as well as developing a retail and wholesale supply chain supplying stores from New York to San Francisco. It didn't hurt that his snowshoes were considered by those in the know as some of the finest ever made.
The Tubbs Snowshoe Company operated under its founder with rapid growth with so much business that in 1923 it was said he turned away business citing he was at maximum capacity even after recent updates. Around 100 snowshoes were being produced each day with shipments direct to retail customers, wholesale stores and military contracts. In September 1923 Mr. Tubbs sold the company to his 6 month new foreman a Mr. Elmer L. Aldrich including a few other investors.
A non compete clause must have been overlooked because shortly after the sale Mr. Tubbs moved to Burlington, Vermont and opened the American Snow Shoe Company. The story continues with several owners and stockholders of the original Tubbs Snowshoe Company as well as Mr. Tubbs new American Snowshoe Company offering "direct from the maker...made by the most experienced snowshoe maker in North America". He continued this smaller operation until 1927 when he accepted a position at the Northland Co. directly from C.A. Lund (the owner of Northland). He shut the doors to the American Snowshoe Company and moved to Hastings Minnesota. This position lasted for 6 years until he accepted a position as foreman at the E. Tel and Company in Medford, Massachusetts. He died on December 1st 1940.